The Eagles won a Super Bowl with Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills as starting cornerbacks. Cre’Von LeBlanc, Rasul Douglas and Avonte Maddox each played strong in stretches last season. Sidney Jones is still only 10 games into his NFL career. That’s six corners on the roster already.
Yet there are mock drafts that have the Eagles going cornerback with the No. 25 pick, which has been the source of a lot of angst for fans. The front office hasn’t exactly dispelled the possibility of taking another corner, either, holding pre-draft meetings with potential first-round prospects.
No, the Eagles don’t necessarily need another cornerback. Then again, the way the team is constructed, the Eagles don’t really have any immediate needs entering the draft.
At the risk of sounding cliché, reason No. 1 the Eagles could select a corner first is because the team is able to nab the best player available. Are there positions of greater need, whether due to talent or depth or planning for the future? Maybe. But if a top corner happens to be available when Howie Roseman is on the clock, he doesn’t have to pass in favor of a lesser prospect who has a better chance of contributing right away.
And to be perfectly honest, there are some compelling reasons cornerback is in fact a very big need for the Eagles. Consider:
2.Darby, Mills and LeBlanc are all scheduled to become free agents at the end of this season. Douglas and Jones are only under contract through 2020. That doesn’t exactly equate to long-term stability.
3.This group isn’t exactly a picture of a health, either. Darby is coming off a torn ACL. Mills missed the final 10 games last season with a foot injury that seemingly got worse over time. Jones was in and out of the lineup all year and failed to suit up for the final five. These were supposed to be the top three corners entering 2018. Can the Eagles depend on the trio to stay on the field in 2019?
4.With respect to Jones, I won’t go so far as to say this is a make-or-break campaign coming up. However, the Eagles must at least allow for the possibility the former second-round pick won’t be in the team’s plans after this year. The young man has been hurt, but depending how his third season goes, he may very well be on the roster bubble come this time in 2020.
5.It’s not as if the Eagles are forced to carry seven cornerbacks if they draft one. Roseman loves to wheel and deal, and it’s probably safe to assume a trade would promptly follow a new addition. At this point, Mills or Douglas might be prime candidates for a swap even if a later pick joins the squad. If nothing else, there’s nothing wrong with having roster flexibility.
6.None of the current corners have proven themselves to be an elite talent or even a Pro Bowler. Darby looks the part at times. Jones has the potential. Maddox flashed as a rookie. But the Eagles need to think about re-signing one or two of these guys in the near future, and there’s nobody who cemented their role beyond this season. That’s definitely a concern.